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FG plays down Mitchell gaffe on Commonwealth

FINE Gael last night moved to limit the fallout from Gay Mitchell's latest gaffe when he suggested the country join the Commonwealth in return for a united Ireland.

The party stressed such a decision would be a matter for the Government, rather than the president.

Mr Mitchell said he would be "positively disposed" towards the idea if it came in return for a united Ireland.

"If it was the price of a United Ireland I would be disposed towards the idea," he said during Today FM's presidential debate.

Sinn Fein presidential candidate Martin McGuinness attacked Mr Mitchell's idea saying it would make the queen more important than the president.

"Gay is saying he would accept the queen of England would have precedence over the Irish president," he said.

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